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Critic Reviews for Mental
The heart of Hogan's film is in the right place, and Collette is masterful as an agent of anarchy.
The scenery Down Under looks great and you certainly can't write off a film where Liev Schreiber plays a shark hunter.
Writer-director P.J. Hogan may have based "Mental" on an actual incident from his childhood, but the crazy quilt of a movie that resulted feels anything but real.
"Mental" wildly overplays the kookiness and quirk.
Audience Reviews for Mental
In "Mental," Nancy(Kerry Fox) may enjoy singing show tunes in her backyard, but that does not mean her neighbors share her love for "The Sound of Music." Even though Nancy's husband Barry(Anthony LaPaglia), the local mayor, is not really at home that often due to having sex with his secretarial staff, he can still sense something is wrong there and that Nancy needs help taking care of their five kids, just as long as it's not him. So, he picks up Shaz(Toni Collette) by the side of the road, taking her home with him. "Mental" gets off to a great start and then makes a very valid point about Nancy not being the crazy one in the neighborhood. And after those very promising five minutes, the movie decides it has nowhere to go from there, becoming a mess of conflicting thoughts for the rest of its ample running time, albeit a very colorful one with a neat primary cast that is really helpless to fight the tide.(And, hey that is Liev Schreiber!) So, after it explores Nancy's problems ad nauseam, there is Shaz who aside from being a driving force in the narrative has her own wacky story to tell, resulting in perhaps the low point of Toni Collette's career to date.
I hadn't noticed that my last review on here was my 2112th review. If you know me, then you know I'm a BIG Rush fan and 2112 is the title is one of their most known album, if not their most known. Admittedly, I've appreciated subsequent Rush albums more than 2112, but I should've still been aware and marked the occasion with a review of a better movie than Finders Keepers. Of course, this marks my 2113th review and that's the title of a song of another band I like, this one being Coheed and Cambria, who named the song in jest due to the comparisons they've received to Rush. This is mostly due to the vocals being very similar, stylistically, they're two very different bands. But I digress, this has all the makings of a great movie, yet it never manages to become a great movie in part to its incredibly jarring tonal shifts that literally come out of nowhere. The film also has some deliciously dark comedy that, if the movie stuck to, would've made this into a pretty incredible movie. The acting is really damn good. You will never hear me complain, ever, about Toni Collette or Liev Schreiber, who has a pretty convincing Australian accent actually, for that matter. Those two always do a good job, no matter what they are in. The problem is the fact that this movie struggles tremendously at handling its sillier comedic moments with its melodramatic ones. Like they'd have this one scene where Shaz, Sandra, and the girls would be menstruating all over their neighbor's white furniture. Then the next thing would be an ultra-serious scene about why Barry has struggled to emotionally connect with his daughters, and how his father beat him. It doesn't happen in that order in the film. It's just an example of how the film can be. That's how jarring it is. And it's not like Slaughterhouse Five, where it's actually part of the concept. So that was definitely the biggest negative. And the fact that the film is just so serious for something that can be so ridiculously silly at times. There's also one hilariously bad scene, where the girls and their mother break out into song at the mental institution to use it as a distraction to break out Shaz, like the Von Trapps. That's not what's bad about, what's bad about it is the fact that people from all over the institution come out and join them in the fucking song. Even worse is the fact that they all have angelic voices. It's not the inspirational moment it aspires to be, it's just laughably bad. They also break out into song at Barry's campaign, it's just not as bad as the scene at the mental institution. But I hate to shit on this movie, because I genuinely did kind of like it, it's just that it was structured much too poorly, it didn't know how to manage its drama and its comedy so where one didn't counteract the other. In here, though, it's like you're watching two completely different films. It's still a pretty solid movie with a good cast of likable characters and a decent enough story. I wouldn't exactly go out of my way to watch this film, but it's a pretty entertaining black comedy with some very obvious identity issues, which is really ironic when the film deals about all the neuroses the film explores.
I think that the people that wrote, and produced this movie, are mental....really dumb movie.
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